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chapter four; waste the night

The fresh air felt nice once it hit Luke's skin.

Him and Ava had just finished climbing up the concrete and grime covered stairs, walking into the city with its bright lights and booming volume. He had suggested a pizza place not too far, just so that both of them could fill up their stomachs before they decided to part ways. (Although, if you asked Luke, he didn't really want them to part ways.)

People surrounded them, lackadaisically bumping to Luke, one skinny man dressed as a mime even nearly knocked him down. He felt embarrassed and tried his best to regain his composure, but it was no use; Ava let out a chortle. He sighed and gave her a pointed glare in hopes she would stop. But she didn't. She grabbed her stomach from how hard she was laughing.

Wiping the tears forming at her eyes, she threw her head back, "I can't believe you, a six foot tall tree, nearly gets knocked over by a - by a friggin' mime."

"Oh shut up, my height means nothing in means of grace," Luke scowled, huffing as she continued to hysterically laugh, people beginning to stare.

Luke noticed how she didn't think of how people would react to her, she was just herself. He also noticed how cute she looked when she laughed, with crinkles by her eyes and her smile was gorgeous - not to mention her laugh, as noisy and boisterous as it was, made Luke's heart thump in his chest. He pulled his eyes away from her and gave her a gentle nudge when she had finished her session of ridiculing him.

"Are you done, Ava?" He asked sarcastically, the both of them beginning to walk again.

"Yes, I'm finished, Luke. Thanks for asking," she answered equally as sarcastic, her eyes scanning the many shops and people around her.

Large crowds started forming again, larger than the usual, and Ava felt her palms get a bit sweaty. She felt slightly nervous and, out of habit, she moved closer to Luke and clutched his hand. Luke was shocked, to say the least. He hadn't expected both her sudden intimacy or her tough hold on his fingers. He took a glimpse at her and he saw that her expression reminded him of a deer in headlights. She stared straight out into the sea of passers-by and tried to keep her cool, but it wasn't working.

Luke squeezed her hand as a gesture of comfort, trying to help her calm down. He had a feeling that Ava had some type of anxiety problem, considering the sweaty hands and the various faces she was making. He didn't say anything as they both walked on, holding hands, the proximity between them growing closer. In fact, Luke enjoyed how close they were right now.

"So, is this pizza place any good?" Ava questioned, too distracted by the lights and people to notice Luke's thumb currently making circles on her skin. "And are we almost there?"

They neared a neat looking restaurant, with a big sign with letter flashing in neon red. Luke stopped abruptly, smiling down at Ava.

"Ta-da! Here we are," Luke announced as though he were unveiling a big surprise. He guided Ava to the door, opening it for her and then following in suit.

The place was quaint and homey, like a family eatery. There weren't many people inside, which did make sense considering it was practically midnight. Workers toward the back caught a glimpse of Luke and immediately started waving and hollering.

A big, burly man with an arrow heart tattoo on his wrist and a couple piercings came up from behind the counter and nodded respectfully towards the two of them and Luke stepped forward to give the guy a bro-hug.

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